PHARR - In an effort to celebrate and educate our community about our region's rich Meso-American culture, students at more than 20 elementary, middle schools and high schools in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) are learning about the Mexican-American heritage by participating in the 2nd annual 2017 Dia de los Muertos Altar Competition.

The competition is possible thanks to a collaboration between the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and PSJA ISD.

"PSJA ISD is the only school district in the Valley participating in this contest," Dr. Stephanie Alvarez, UTRGV Associate Professor & Graduate Director, Mexican American Studies said. "It works perfectly with the district’s unique Dual Language Enrichment program because it helps students learn what Dia de los Muertos is and teaches them the tradition of honoring their families and loved ones."

During the 2-day competition taking place Nov. 1-2, individuals from the Center for Mexican American Studies will be judging altars based on their use of various cultural and heritage elements like images and personal artifacts.

This year, the following PSJA ISD schools are participating:


Carman Elementary;

Anaya Elementary;

Chavez Elementary;

Dr. Long Elementary;

Garcia Elementary;

Garza-Pena Elementary;

Kelly-Pharr Elementary;

McKeever Elementary;

Palmer Elementary;

Trevino Elementary; and

Reed & Mock Elementary

Middle Schools

Murphy Middle School;

Escalante Middle School;

Kennedy Middle School;

Liberty Middle School;

Alamo Middle School; and

Yzaguirre Middle School

High Schools

PSJA Early College High School;

PSJA North Early College High School;

PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School

Judging for altars will continue tomorrow Nov. 2, 2017. For questions about the competition, please contact 956-354-2027.